Chicagoans struggle to get prescriptions amid pharmacy closures, unrest

At least 60 Chicago-area pharmacies have been damaged or closed this week — most on the city's South Side — following unrest in the wake of the death of George Floyd, and patients are struggling to get needed medications, The Chicago Tribune reported. 

CVS Health said as of June 3, 30 of its Chicago stores were closed, mostly in the Loop and the South Side. 

Walgreens didn't say how many of its stores closed, but community members told the Tribune that several Walgreens on the South Side have closed. 

The closures are making it difficult for residents with diabetes, heart problems, mental health disorders and drug addiction to get their prescriptions, the Tribune reported. 

"It’s a huge problem if you can’t get your medication filled. We have fewer and fewer access points for patients, so when these close down ... or they’re unable to serve the patients, it’s catastrophic," Kevin Colgan, vice president and chief pharmacy officer at the University of Chicago Medical Center, told the Tribune

Mr. Colgan said the medical center has been trying to fill prescriptions for patients whose usual pharmacies are closed. 

Community leaders on the South Side told the Tribune they're working with 200 Pharmacy, a local compounding pharmacy, to fill prescriptions of seniors who need cholesterol, hypertension, respiratory or heart medications, and that Uber is offering free rides to the pharmacy for seniors. 

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city is working with Walgreens and CVS and that the Chicago Department of Public Health is developing information for the public on which pharmacies are open, the Tribune reported. The health department  is working with the city's 311 informational number to inform callers about resources and is talking with pharmacies, physicians and health systems about what to do next.

A CVS spokesperson told the Tribune that the company is working to reroute the phone systems of the pharmacies that closed to nearby open locations. 

A Walgreens spokesperson told the Tribune the company is "thankful for additional police presence at pharmacies and grocery stores, and is reaching out to patients whose stores have closed to find nearby locations."

Read the full article here.

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